Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today sent Melbourne Victory an official reprimand under the National Code of Conduct following the lighting of a flare at the Hyundai A-League match at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
After reviewing a submission from Melbourne Victory, FFA has recognised the significant shift amongst the Melbourne Victory supporters who showed their displeasure and then identified the perpetrator.
Melbourne Victory, along with all Hyundai A-League Clubs, was also supportive and vigilant in taking part in and delivering the National Flare Campaign; its message was simple “Flares are not Acceptable – don’t be disloyal!”
“FFA has received a detailed submission from Melbourne Victory and the club has been issued with an official reprimand,” said Head of Hyundai A-League Greg O’Rourke.
“In making the determination, FFA has placed considerable significance on the Melbourne Victory supporters who voiced their displeasure and then helped identify the perpetrator, who was removed from the stadium and will go through the FFA Banning Process. This behaviour is refreshing.
“We look at all incidents on a case by case basis and take into consideration the totality of the situation and behaviours and we noted some clear distinctions from the incidents last week at the Sydney Derby.
“Before the start of the Season, FFA and the clubs launched a National Flare Campaign in collaboration with police and stadiums where players and coaches asked football fans through video screen messages, Member letters and social media to help rid their clubs of disloyal fans discharging flares.
“FFA recognises that the self-policing by the Melbourne Victory fans is yet another positive step and a strong public statement that fans, clubs and the wider football family were united in saying flares are not acceptable and show disloyalty to their club.
“In issuing the reprimand FFA is warning all clubs of the need to stay vigilant. The collective focus of FFA, clubs, players and true football fans is to work together to eliminate all forms of anti-social behaviour, including flares.
“We need to be clear that a recurrence of the incident where flares are ignited in the Melbourne Victory fans area may leave FFA with no alternative other than to deduct points from the club.”
Melbourne Victory has accepted this decision and will not be appealing.